Thursday April 12th 6:30
United Kingdom, 2016
Director: Lone Scherfig
Cast: Gemma Arterton, Bill Nighy, Jack Huston, Helen McCrory, Eddie Marsan, Richard E. Grant
Runtime: 110 minutes
Goteborg Film Festival: Best Feature Film; 5 other nominations.
“A World War II comedy that, despite its light hand, never compromises the grief and loss that lie at its core.”—Ann Hornaday, Washington Post
Director Lone Scherfig (An Education) returns with this rousing romantic comedy set in Britain’s wartime film industry. Featuring a cast teeming with some of the UK’s most charismatic comedic actors, including Bill Nighy (Pride) and Richard E. Grant (The Iron Lady), Their Finest is about boosting morale during a period of national — and personal — crisis.
Catrin Cole (Gemma Arterton, Tamara Drewe) is a “slop” scriptwriter, charged with bringing a female perspective to war films produced by the British Ministry of Information’s Film Division. Catrin’s artist husband looks down on her job despite the fact that it’s paying their rent, but her effort and talent are valued by lead scenarist Tom Buckley (Sam Claflin, United).
While on location in Devon, Catrin begins to come into her own and earns the respect of her peers, especially when she becomes the only crewperson that Ambrose Hilliard (Nighy) — a past-his-prime, yet nonetheless pompous actor — will talk to and take direction from.
Based on the novel Their Finest Hour and a Half by Lissa Evans, the film pops with witty banter and flows with lovely period detail. The characters are uniformly textured and the performances nuanced. Nighy is perfectly cast in his endearingly withering role, and Jeremy Irons turns up for a welcome cameo. However, Arterton ultimately steals the show, bringing subtlety, intelligence, and a range of beautifully gauged emotions to Catrin, whose path to self-renewal is an inspiring example of a talented woman forging her place in the world.
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